Newly Renovated temple
|Other names:||Sthana Peeth (Breast Shrine) of Adi Shakti, Tara Tantra Peetha|
|Proper name:||Maa Tara Tarini|
|Devanagari:||माँ तारा तारिणी (स्तन पीठ)|
|Location:||near Berhampur city|
|Architecture and culture|
|Primary deity:||Tara and Tarini (Kali & Tara)|
|Important festivals:||Chaitra Mela/Chaitra Parva/Chaitra Yatra, Dusshera, Navaratri, Dipawali, Sankranti, All Tuesdays of the year|
|Architectural styles:||Kalinga Architecture / Hindu temple architecture|
|Number of temples:||Five|
|Number of monuments:||Five hundred|
|Inscriptions:||At the Foot Hill of the Shrine (Shiv Temple)|
|Creator:||Kalinga Emperors in Ancient Period, Basupraharaj in Medieval period and Tara Tarini Development Board at present|
Maa Tara Tarini temple on the Kumari hills at the bank of the River Rushikulya near Berhampur city in Ganjam District, Odisha, India is worshiped as the Breast Shrine (Sthana Peetha) and manifestations of Adi Shakti. The Taratarini Shakti Peetha is one of the oldest pilgrimage centers of the Mother Goddess and is one of four major ancient Tantra Peetha and Shakti Peethas in India.
The mythological texts recognize four major Shakti Peethas: Tara Tarini (Stana Khanda), near Berhampur; Bimala (Pada Khanda) inside the Jagannath Temple (Puri); Kamakhya (Yoni khanda), near Guwahati; and Dakshina Kalika (Mukha khanda) in Kolkata. There are 52 other sacred Shakti Peethas, which originated from the limbs of Mata Sati's corpse in the Satya Yuga.
Taratarini Shakti Peetha & Tantra Peetha
The shrine is considered as one of the most revered Shakti Peetha & Tantra Peetha and major pilgrimage centre of Shakta(Shaktism)sect of Hinduism. It is believed that the shrine is a Shakti Peetha. Shakti Peethas are holy abode of Parashakti. This is believed to have originated from the mythological story, of falling of the body parts of the corpse of Sati Devi, when Shiva carried it and wandered. There are 51 Shakti Peethas and 26 Upa Peethas spread across the Indian sub continent. 51 Shakti Peeths are believed to be representing the 51 alphabets in Sanskrit. Sati Devi's breasts are believed to have fallen here in Tara Tarini. The Shakti of the shrine is addressed as Maa Tara Devi.
Four Adi Shakti Peethas
The great mythological texts including the Shiva Purana and the Kalika Purana (the Asthashakti) recognize the four major Shakti Peethas. Like (Bimala, Pada Khanda) inside the Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa, (Tara Tarini) Sthana Khanda (Breasts), near Berhampur, Orissa, (Kamakshi, Yoni khanda) near Guwahati, Assam and (Dakhina Kalika, Mukha khanda) in Kolkata, West Bengal originated from the limbs of the Corpse of Mata Sati. In a hymn, the Kalika Purana (Asthashakti) clearly says:
[[“Vimala Pada khandancha,
Stana khandancha Tarini (Tara Tarini),
Kamakhya Yoni khandancha,
Mukha khandancha Kalika (Kali)
Anga pratyanga sangena
Vishnu Chakra Kshate nacha……”]]
|Vimala||Pada khanda||Puri, Odisha|
|Tara Tarini||Stana khanda||Berhampur, Odisha|
|Kamakhya||Yoni khanda||guwahati, Assam|
|Kali||Mukha khanda||Kolkata, West Bengal|
Further explaining the importance of these four Peethas the Brihat Samhita gives the geographical location of these Peethas. For example:
“Rushikulya Tate Devi, Tarakashya Mahagiri, Tashya Srunge Stitha Tara, Vasishta Rajitapara"
Thus, there is no dispute regarding these four Adi Shakti Peethas and their locations.
The temple is at 19°29′N 84°53′E. The nearest airports are Bhubaneswar (174 km) and Vishakhapatnam (240 km) from the shrine. The nearest railway station is Berhampur city, 32 km from the temple. Taxi services are available from Berhampur, Bhubaneswar, Puri to Tara Tarini, and regular bus service is available from Berhampur to the Tara Tarini Junction.
The goddesses Tara and Tarini are represented by two ancient stone statues with gold and silver ornaments. Two brass heads, known as their Chalanti Pratima, or Living Image, are placed between them.
The abode of Maa Tara Tarini
Adi Shakti goddesses Tara Tarini have been regarded as the presiding deity (Ista-Devi) in many parts of India and in most of the households in Odisha. This holy shrine is in the eastern coast, about 30 km from the commercial nerve centre of Odisha, Berhampur. The historically famous Jaugada rock edict of Emperor Asoka and the pious river Rishikulya, which has been described in Rig Veda as ‘Gangayah Jyestha Bhagini’(the elder sister of the Ganga), are also present near this shrine.
Since time immemorial, Adyashakti is being worshiped here as Devi Tara Tarini on the blue capped holy mountain of Tarini Parvat/Kumari hills/Ratnagiri/Purnagiri. At the hilltop, a beautiful stone temple is the abode of Maa. Two stones anthropomorphized by the addition of gold and silver ornaments and shaped to be seen as human faces are the main shrine of this temple which represent the goddesses Tara and Tarini. In between them are two fully celebrated and beautiful brass heads as their Chalanti Pratima or their Living Image.
According to the Puranas the origin of Maa Tara Tarini is directly attributed to Daksha Prajapati’s Jagna in Satya Yuga. The famous Shakta Peethas of Bimala, Tara-Tarini, Dakshina Kalika and Kamakshi originated from the limbs of the divine corpse of Devi Sati. Sacred texts like the Shiva Purana, the Kalika Purana, the Devi Bhagabat (a contemporary text of the Mahabharata written by Shri Vyasa Dev around 6000 years ago) attest this fact.
It is known from the Mahabharata that before the commencement of the Mahabharata war Lord Srikrishna had advised Arjuna to offer prayer for victory at Shridevi kupa or Bhadrakali. Bhadrakali originated from the limbs of Sati like the other four major Adi Shakti Peethas, which existed during the time of the Mahabharata or around 6000 years ago. This is the oldest data/information we get till date, regarding the existence of the shrines originated from the limbs of the divine corpse of Devi Sati.
According to available historical sources the fall of Kalingan Empire and its capital Sampa (Samapa) in the Kalinga war around 2300 years ago by Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, strengthened the grip of Buddhists in this part of India. The then Sampa was hardly 7 km from Taratarini Hill Shrine. So, scholars believe that Taratarini was worshiped as the principal deity (Ista-Devi) of the mighty Kalinga Empire. After Ashoka conquered Kalinga scholars found it a famous centre of Buddhism. The region of Ganjam near the bank of river Rushikulya was an active Buddhist site as shown from the Special Rock Edicts of Ashoka found at Jaugada at a distance of 4 km from Tara-Tarini Hill Shrine. The name Tara (Buddhism), an important deity of Mahayana Buddhist Pantheon, is suggestive of Buddhist influence. An image of Buddha in meditation, present inside the sanctum sanctorum of the temple lends credence to the claim of this site as an ancient centre of the Buddhist Shakta cult.
According to the texts of Mahayana Buddhists, in the initial days, the Buddhists didn’t believe in the worship of Goddesses or in Pratimapuja (Idol Worship). But, the ecclesiastical texts of Mahayana’s reveal that from 1st century AD after the fall of Kalinga, for the first time the Mahayana Buddhists accepted the worship of Mother Goddess ‘Tara’. So there is seldom any doubt that the Buddhists have learned the ‘Tara’ Puja concept from this shrine. The Bouddha Tantrik texts, texts of Vajrajani sect and Hindu Tantrik texts also attest these facts. Scholars believe that in the primary days the Buddhists worshiped Taratarini, the principal seat of Tantrik sect in Hinduism at that time, as Bouddha Tara, and later on included ‘Tara’ as the Tantrik deity or spouse of bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara in their belief system. Gradually this ‘Tara’ worship spread to different parts of the world.
Besides the worship of Tara by the Buddhist Tantrikas, the maritime history of Kalinga suggests the worship of Tara by the Sadhavas, merchants and seamen before launching their sea voyage from the great sea ports like Dantapura (Gopalpur), Pallur near Chilika Lake, kalingapatna and river Rushikulya. All these major sea ports of the ancient world were very near the Taratarini hill shrine.
According to folklore, around 8th century AD Jagadguru Sankaracharya toured country, that he discovered this Shrine. But, it did not exist in its present form. After long try he came to know that this ancient Shakti centre was under the control of Buddhist tantrikas. Then he released this Peetha from the control of Bouddha tantrikas and handed it over to Hindus.
It is known from the available sources that till 17th century this place was out of the sight of the common man. But, according to a folk story, once Maa Taratarini appeared as two sisters in the house of Shri Basu Praharaj. He was a learned Brahmin of Kharida Vira Jagannathpur village in Ganjam District and one of the great devotees of the Mother Goddess but child less. After staying for some years one day the sisters disappeared suddenly from the house of Basu Praharaj. According to the account of the villagers the sisters traveled up to the Tarini Parvat/Ratnagiri and disappeared there.
Basu Praharaj searched these girls but did not find their tracings. His heart broke down with grief and pain. On that night he saw a dream where the Tara and Tarini informed Basu Praharaj that they were not his daughters; they are the Adi Shakti, Tara and Tarini. The goddesses ordered Basu to come out of the grief and said that the time has arrived and with full devotion renovate the temple on the hilltop of Tarini Parvat and establish the deities according to the Vedic tradition.
After that divine direction Basu discovered the tracings of ancient most presence of Adi Shakti Tara Tarini on the sacred hilltop and immediately took steps to reconstruct the temple and the shrine. Since that time for its magnetism and sanctity this Sthana Peetha (Breast Shrine) of Mata Sati, became a centre of faith and reverence for countless people, in search of peace, tranquility, guidance and spiritual energy and its fame spread like wild fire to become one of the popular religious destinations for millions of devotees.
Mythological texts and folklore suggest that during the 6000-year history of this Shakti Peeth many icons have come through this shrine, such as Lord Ram, Lord Krishna, Lord Parasuram, the Pandavas, and many saints, including Jagadguru Sankaracharya, Shri Chaitanya, and Balayogi Neelakanthi. Many ancient religions came together at this shrine, such as the Vedic religion, the Brahminical religion, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Tantricism, among others.
The location of this shrine along the river Rushikulya (also called the Rushikalyani Saraswati and known as the elder sister of the Ganges in the Vedas) enhanced its religious and cultural significance.
This Chaitra Parba/Chaitra Mela/Chaitra Yatra is the most important among the festivals, celebrated at the Tara Tarini Hill Shrine.
It takes place on each Tuesday of the month of Chaitra, i.e., during mid-March to mid-April (according to the English calendar). Lakhs of devotees come from every corner of world to have darshan of the Tara Tarini and perform their Manasika after fulfillment of their desires. Grand congregations take place on the first, second, third and fourth Tuesdays. On Tuesday, the shrine remains open for the Darshan of the deities from 1.00 AM (mid-night on Monday) till 11 PM (of Tuesday). During that period, Pahada (daytime rest) of the deities is confined to night-time only. Devotees come to offer the first bunch of hair of the newborn babies with the believe that goddesses Tara Tarini will protect the newborns from all evils and ensure their well-being.
- "TARATARINI TEMPLE". orissadiary.com. Retrieved 2 March 2013. "waddling holy river Rushikulya"
- "TARA-TARINI: The Ancient Shakti Pitha of Orissa".
- (Translator), F. Max Muller (June 1, 2004). The Upanishads, Vol I. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 1419186418.
- (Translator), F. Max Muller (July 26, 2004). The Upanishads Part II: The Sacred Books of the East Part Fifteen. Kessinger Publishing, LLC. ISBN 1417930160.
- "Kottiyoor Devaswam Temple Administration Portal". http://kottiyoordevaswom.com/. Kottiyoor Devaswam. Retrieved 20 July 2013.
- "Goddesses Tara Tarini". hindutara.com. 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2013. "Tara and Tarini are represented by two stone statues with gold and silver ornaments"
- Excerpts from R P Tripathy's article
- "Tara Tarini Mela". newodisha.in. 2012. Retrieved 2 March 2013. "takes place on each Tuesday in the month of Chaitra"
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